cover image The Poisoner of Ptah

The Poisoner of Ptah

Paul C. Doherty, Author . St. Martin’s Minotaur $24.95 (380p

Prolific British author Doherty (The Assassins of Isis ) spins a rich, complex tale of murder in this gripping ancient Egyptian mystery, his latest to feature “the Chief Judge in the Hall of Two Truths,” Lord Amerotke. In 1478 B.C., Hatusu, the pharaoh queen, ably rules Egypt, but she must still reckon with foreign rivals, including Libya. Just as delicate negotiations with a Libyan delegation result in a valuable peace treaty, three prominent Egyptian scribes are poisoned, and Hatusu calls on Amerotke to find the killer. Suspicion soon falls on Rekhet, a man convicted years earlier of a series of royal court poisonings. Amerotke discovers Rekhet recently escaped from prison, possibly with the assistance of the very Libyans negotiating the peace treaty with Egypt. Doherty, the author of a number of other historical series, manages to include an impossible crime among the puzzles the sage and insightful judge must solve. (Feb.)